Posted on September 10, 2017, by Travis Pulver
It was well publicized over the course of the last week that Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield did not like hearing the Ohio State Buckeyes sing their fight song in Norman last season. But that kind of thing is going to happen when you are not the better team. The only thing you can do about it is return the favor.
After Saturday night’s win over the Buckeyes at the ‘Shoe’ in Columbus, he has.
Indiana exposed the Ohio State defense as flawed the week before but didn’t have the talent to exploit those flaws. The Sooners do have the talent—and did exploit it. The Sooners practically moved the ball at will but had trouble finishing off drives in the first half. When halftime rolled around, the score was as close as people expected but not as high, 3-3.
But in the second half things started to click for the Sooners.
After falling behind 13-10 midway through the third quarter, the Sooners offense responded with a three and out drive. But then they scored touchdowns on their next three to turn what had been a very close game into a blowout.
“We should have won by more,” Mayfield said (ESPN).
Oklahoma had been knocking at the door the entire game. But the Ohio State defense had managed to fend them off despite getting little help from their offense. In the first half, the Sooners outgained the Buckeyes 222 to 87. But thanks to a turnover on downs, two fumbles, and a missed field goal, they had nothing to show for it.
“We never got down, even with the ebbs and flows of the game,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said after the game (ESPN). “[We] just stayed in it. We competed at a high, high level. We expected to win this game.”
It wasn’t all Baker Mayfield and the offense of course. The Oklahoma defense played a pretty big role as well. After starting the second half off by giving up ten points to Ohio State, they buckled down and only gave up 130 yards the rest of the way.
While the offense was key, so was keeping J.T. Barrett and the Ohio State offense from answering the Sooners offense. After a Lee Morris touchdown reception gave Oklahoma a 17-13 lead, the defense forced a turnover on downs on Ohio State’s next drive.
Following Trey Sermon’s 10-yard touchdown reception they responded with an interception. That led to Jordan Smallwood’s three-yard touchdown run and a 31-13 Oklahoma lead (final score–31-16).
“It was awful,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said (ESPN). “We got beat by a very good team and a quarterback that was dynamic. I thought our defense hung in there against, like I said, a very good player.”
Mayfield followed up his season opening performance against UTEP with another stellar one. A week after going 19-20 for 329 yards and three touchdowns he completed 27 of 35 passes for 386 yards and three scores.
J.T. Barrett was able to overcome a slow start against Indiana to finish with 365-total yards and four touchdowns. But he was unable to replicate the effort against the Sooners defense. He struggled to connect with his receivers downfield throughout the game and went 19-35 for 183 yards and an interception.
While it doesn’t look good for the Buckeyes, Ohio State is far from out of the playoff hunt. If history has told us anything, it is that a team can come back from an early loss. They just have to play near-flawless football for the remainder of the season. That will mean beating Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, and whoever they may play in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Oklahoma will try to keep it rolling next week when they face Tulane (with kickoff at 6 PM ET). Ohio State will hope to get back on track against a tough Army team (with kickoff at 4:30 PM ET). It will be interesting to see if an Army team that rarely passes tries to take advantage of a Buckeyes defense that has given up over 800 yards the first two weeks of the season.